Things appear to have changed a bit since I attended Northwestern. Prof. John Michael Bailey gave his students an optional demonstration as part of his “Human Sexuality” class with a naked couple having sex in his class.
Over 100 students watched as a man used a sex toy on a woman in the class. The woman told reporters that she agreed to speak with the students as a member of the “fetish community” but was happy to serve as the focus of a demonstration in the aptly named Ryan Family Auditorium.
If there is any consistency in students, I hope at least one student ask “is this going to be on the test?”
It might also be a good idea for faculty to try not to follow Professor Bailey on the schedule for the classroom.
In fairness to the professor, he has roughly 600 students and did not require attendance at the demonstration. Moreover, Professor Bailey did not originate the idea.
However, a student was quoted as saying that “We were told we were going to have some people talk to us about the fetish world and kink.”
The University stood by its professor as a matter of academic freedom. Alan K. Cubbage, vice president for University Relations, stated “Northwestern University faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial and at the leading edge of their respective disciplines. The University supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge.”
The class was narrated by Ken Melvoin-Berg, who was paid $300 to $500 for his appearance. Payments for such displays could raise legal issues, particularly if the woman was paid. There is no indication that Faith Knoll, 25, was paid. Indeed the change to a live demonstration was not unwelcomed by Knoll or her partner Jim Marcus, 45: Knoll’s particular fetish is “being in front of people, having the attention and being used.” She used the live demonstration to prove that female orgasm is real — a point that one would think could be accepted without a live demonstration.
Bailey insists that his students are not “fragile children” but grown ups studying sexuality.
For my part, I just feel entirely deflated. I have been nervous about introducing new handouts in class on legal doctrines in tort. Now I feel much less of a rebel.